Breaking News
More () »

Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Alexander Fazzino found not guilty in first-degree murder trial

UPDATE — The jury has reached a verdict in the first-degree murder trial of Alexander Fazzino.
Fazzino Trial Verdict_34009254-159532

UPDATE — A jury has found Alexander Fazzino not guilty in the first-degree murder trial over the death of his wife, Emily Fazzino.

The verdict was read to a courtroom packed with people around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday.

The trial began Feb. 22, but jurors did not get the case until about 1 p.m. Tuesday.  They deliberated until just after 1 p.m. Wednesday. 

The jury is made up of of eight men and four women. They could choose between first-degree or second-degree murder, involuntary or voluntary manslaughter, or not guilty of any charges.

Fazzino was originally charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Emily.  The 23-year-old was found dead in the bathtub of the couple’s Boone, Iowa home on Jan. 29, 2012.

Local 5’s Claire Powell is in the courtroom covering the story. Tune to Local 5 News at 5 and 6 p.m. for the latest. 

(previous story)

DECORAH, Iowa — Closing arguments ended Tuesday morning and jury deliberations began in the Alexander Fazzino trial.

The jury was able to deliberate for three hours Tuesday afternoon before adjourning for the day. 

It was standing room only in the courtroom as an estimated 90-100 people listened to attorney closing arguments in the first-degree murder trial of Alexander Fazzino. 

Alex Fazzino’s family took up one side of the aisle and Emily Fazzino’s filled the other. Emily’s father, Rick Beckwith, was also in the courtroom Tuesday. Beckwith forewent giving in-person testimony due to heart issues and doctors orders. 

Closing arguments began shortly before 9 a.m. after jury instructions were read to the jury. 

An animated prosecution started by saying Emily felt scared in the weeks leading up to her death. Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown said, “Alex had nothing to lose but everything to gain by Emily being dead.” Brown sited anger and losing control as motives for killing Emily, in addition to custody of their three children and $250,000 worth of life insurance policies. 

The prosecution added Dr. Michele Catellier’s forensic evidence, insisting Emily’s injuries were consistent with strangulation and assault. 

Brown also said Emily’s family was aware of her problem and her mother, Cindy Beckwith, tried to help despite keeping it a secret from Emily’s father and the Boone community. 

“You’re going to criticize a mother for helping her daughter? Seriously? Not only did she help Emily get through, she started getting better! She was standing up for herself. This is not some weak, drug addicted alcohol withdrawn 32-year-old woman. She’s sticking up for herself and you know who didn’t like it? Alex Fazzino didn’t because he was losing control,” said Brown. 
The defense took over just after 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, saying Alex continually said Emily had a problem and asked for help from the Beckwith’s but they were all in complete denial. 
Defense Attorney Bill Kutmus cited the FaceTime video showing Emily allegedly under the influence just ten days before her death. Kutmus said Emily likely died from drug and alcohol withdrawal issues and her bruising was from CPR life saving methods. 
“Denial means it didn’t exist. You shed any responsibility for whatever happened to Emily. That’s what they call a defense mechanism in the mind. The prosecution is trying to say “No Alex is greedy, he wants to kill his wife for a watch or a house that he doesn’t even own!” But this is the marital issue!” said Kutmus shaking a bottle of pills at the jury. “This is what he screams about, howled about, not greed!” 
The jury made up of eight men and four women will have to unanimously decide the fate of Alexander Fazzino. They’ll continue their deliberation Wednesday morning at 8 a.m.
The jury may find Alex guilty or not guilty of first degree murder .If he is found not guilty, they may find him guilty of a lesser charge including second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter or not guilty altogether.  
Local 5 News will have the latest information as the verdict is reached.